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Exhibitors Enjoy A Shining Beginning To The Show Season At The Gasparilla Charity Horse Show

by Diana Davidson
Posted March 19, 2002
TAMPA, Fla., - The 18th annual Gasparilla Charity Horse Show ushered in the new show season on February 26 - March 2. Once again this year Saddlebred, Hackney Pony, Roadster and Morgan competitors from throughout the United States converged in Florida to kick off the show season. The Sunshine Circuit started off with less than chamber of commerce weather, but that did not deter exhibitors from enjoying a great week of show ring competition.

Gasparilla enjoyed a hefty increase in numbers with exhibitors and horses from throughout the southern states as well as some from the Northeast and the Midwest. While the Sunshine Circuit is the annual first show for many barns in attendance, some barns took part in the venerable circuit for the first time this year. They all gathered in the Charlie Lykes Arena at the Horse Show Complex at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The facility offers ample stabling with large stalls, outdoor work areas, as well as a covered warm-up ring under the same roof as the show arena.

The Gasparilla Charity Horse Show, a many time UPHA Honor Show, was once again held in conjunction with UPHA Chapter 16. The show which is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Horse Show Association, Inc., was once again held for the benefit of WildLife On Easy Street, a nonprofit sanctuary and rehabilitation center for wildlife located in Tampa. In addition, Gasparilla Charity is also a supporter of The Special Olympics of Florida; and Kathy Gray, the 2001 UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup Champion, opened some of the evening performances with a demonstration of her adept riding skills.

The show was once again chaired and managed by Joanne B. Quade, a year round volunteer who was assisted by Joan Woodward. "The show ran very smoothly, it almost seemed to go by too quickly. Exhibitors and officials had a good time, and the numbers were up. Even though we didn't have the best weather, exhibitors were really great sports and kept on showing. We had some new barns and vendors come to the show this year which was great. I would like to thank the sponsors and supporters including the Reynolds family, as well as Nelco Companies who sponsored a wonderful exhibitors party, and Dori Rath and Leeann Rodgers for doing such a fantastic job putting together the Jungle Jam," Quade added.

The Jungle Jam was the exclamation point of a great Friday night at Gasparilla. The cleverly decorated pavilion featured a barbecue buffet, live DJ and karaoke, and door prizes for the large group who attended. Exhibitors were also treated to a breakfast sponsored by Judd Stables in the pavilion following a chilly Thursday evening session. In addition to all of the show ring highlights, Saturday evening's session included a special presentations in center ring of the Gasparilla Sportsmanship Award to Lucy Pruitt.

The judging duties for the week were handled by Lewis Eckard and Betty Gray (Academy). Show secretary Beth Snider kept the office running smoothly as always. The roster of returning Gasparilla officials also included; announcer Jeff Hyman, grounds and stall manager Scott Snider, farrier Stanley Orr, videographer Richfield Video, organist June Brune, ringmaster William Whitley, USAE Steward Bill Munford, paddock master Tom Bloch, and photographer Howard Schatzberg.

For the complete show coverage, see the printed edition of Saddle Horse Report dated March 18, 2002.

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